Since the day I was born I’ve been living a life steeped in traditions, all of which have given me a sense of purpose and enriched my quality of life. So when it came to brewing and naming my first all grain hefeweizen, a classic german beer style; the importance of remaining true to one’s traditions came to mind. It brought back memories of watching Fiddler on the Roof with my mother for the first time as a child and her telling me that her mother introduced her to it. Hence, I’ve named this beer Tradition, Tradition! Hefeweizen.
As the label that I put together for this beer states…“In the late 19th and early 20th century European Jews faced challenges that would ultimately bring an end to simple life in their small communities called shtetls. In order to brave these challenges they stayed true to their traditions. In a similar vein, Germans have taken pride in and held true to their tradition of Reinheitsgebot (1487, 1871) brewing stricture for centuries despite many revolutionary brewing techniques. and ingredients. This beer serves as a tribute to those times and to the importance of keeping both religious and brewing traditions alive. L’chaim and Prost!”
Beyond tackling the brewing of my first hefeweizen I also took it upon myself to brew my first ever 8 gallon batch of beer. As mentioned in the above video, my biggest obstacle in doing so was not having the ability to take an accurate preboil gravity reading due to my brew kettle’s 10 gallon capacity. The next obstacle was having to use multiple pots to boil the 11 gallons of preboil wort on my stove. After blending the wort to keep things as uniform as possible and increase hop utilization, I poured 8 gallons into my main kettle, 2 gallons into a 12 quart stock pot and 1 gallon into an 8 quart stock pot. One small boil over aside, after the two larger pots reached a boil I realized that the 8 quart pot which was on my stove’s smaller “simmer burner” wasn’t able to maintain a boil. Therefore, I decided to keep it on its burner and gradually add its wort into the 12 quart pot. I should also note that I created three recipe files for this brew day on Beer Smith; a 5 gallon batch, a 3 gallon batch, and an 8 gallon combined batch. Doing so helped me figure out how to tailor my hop* addition schedule to the size of each boil (13-14 IBUs).
After both boils were over I combined both pots/kettles and estimated how much wort I ended up with. It was my estimation that caused me to miss my target OG by 2-3 points. Don’t worry, I’ll explain…The combined wort’s gravity was 1.060 or 6 points over my target of 1.054. So I went into BeerSmith’s dilution tool and at my estimated 8.75 gallons and target OG of 1.o54 I calculated that I needed to add 0.85 of a gallon to my kettle. However, after doing so and taking another gravity I was left with a gravity of 1.052. While I’m okay with that OG, I’m glad that the new kettle that I ordered recently has volume markings etched into it i.e. no more need for blind estimates.
Due to the added volume of the top up water I ended up with roughly 8.6 gallons of wort split between two Better Bottle carboys; 5 gallons in a 6 gallon, and 3.6 in a 5 gallon. For a glimpse into the start of fermentation watch the video above. Overall, I am happy with how brew day went and am looking forward to the finished products.
*All hops used were provided by Yakima Valley Hops for the purpose of hop education and review through brewing.
Mash Schedule: My original goal was to do a ferulic acid rest, but after a late start to brew day and overshooting my initial mash temp I decided to stick with a protein rest followed by a sacc. rest, a mash out rest, and fly sparging.
Protein Rest: 122F for 35 minutes
Sacc. Rest: 153F for 70 minutes
Mash Out Rest: 168F for 15 minutes
And now for a flash back to last week’s Homebrew Wednesday video which I somehow neglected to create a blog post for…
- June New York City Homebrewers Guild meeting: I discuss the formal portion of the meeting where we played “Guess the hop” and then the subsequent bottle share where was I lucky to try the NHC 2015 Best of Show gueuze which was brewed by 3 of my fellow club members.
- June Brewminaries club meeting @ Threes Brewing: I discuss the fast growth of the club since its inception in March of this year and how great it was to hold the meeting at Threes Brewing, a fairly new NYC brewery in Brooklyn.
- Update on my Tart Tense saison (fermenting w/ The Yeast Bay’s Farmhouse Sour Ale blend): An update on the beer’s fermentation with a gravity sample that I took at the 15 day mark.
- Wrap Up: A brief discussion of what’s coming up in terms of my homebrewing.
Cheers and Keep on brewing!